Gilded Age chanteuse Rosie O'Grady, bless her dear departed soul, had three daughters. Maureen (Debbie Reynolds in her first major film role) bubbles with teenage enthusiasm. Poppa (real-life vaudevillian James Barton) approves. Eldest daughter Katie (Marsha Jones) is ready to settle down. And until her long-time romantic secret gets out, Poppa again approves. Then there's Patricia (June Haver), who yearns for the vaudeville stage. Poppa is furious!
All three ladies shine, but Haver's Patricia is the daughter in question in this nostalgic musical gem. Despite Poppa's wrath, dark skies can't last when she attracts the attentions of showman Tony Pastor (Gordon MacRae) and tap-happy Doug (Gene Nelson). Nor can ex-showman Poppa forever resist the footlights. As he takes the stage during the movie's finale, witness a vaudeville turn from a man who lived it.
This Gay-90s musical interweaves a number of fictional characters with real-life theatrical impresario Tony Pastor (played by Gordon MacRae, who resembles the real Pastor not at all). The plot involves a roisterous Irish papa (James Barton) who, when not on a drunk, tries to keep his two daughters (June Haver and Debbie Reynolds) from the clutches of predatory men. The older daughter (Haver), who entertains notions of a stage career, meets Tony Pastor during an audition, and promptly falls in love. She becomes a star singing such turn-of-the-century hits as the title song, while Pastor tries to suppress his own warm feelings towards the girl. Warner Bros. stalwart S.Z. Sakall shows up in DAUGHTER OF ROSIE O'GRADY, fully justifying his nickname "Cuddles."
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